About LaPerm
Breed History | Description | Temperament

In 1982, a gray tabby barn cat gave birth to a litter of six kittens. One of them was born completely bald, looking nothing like her mother or her littermates.

"Curly" was, without a doubt, the ugliest kitten in the world; no hair, large, wide- spaced ears and a unique pattern on her skin which mimicked a classic Tabby pattern.

Within eight weeks, the kitten began to grow very soft, curly hair. Not being very knowledgeable about cats, owner Linda Koehl accepted this "mutant" as unique and thought nothing more of the matter.

As "Curly" grew, her soft fur felt so inviting to the touch that Linda found herself constantly picking up the cat. "Curly's temperament was different too; affectionate, but not demanding, waiting quietly for her turn. She was gentle and trusting with her affection.

"Curly" later gave birth to a litter of five male kittens, all of whom were bald at birth. This piqued Linda's interest enough that she did some research on cats, deciding she somehow had acquired felines with Rex genes. She found it novel but it never occurred to her that she might have something more.

During the next ten years, no attempt was made to breed selectively, but as the frequency of bald kittens increased, Linda began to seek additional information about unusual cats. As she became aware of how truly unique these cats were, she started to confine and control the breeding. It appeared that the curly gene was dominant and carried by both males and females.

Linda then decided to enter her cats for exhibition at a show to get "the expert's" opinion of what she had. But she was totally unprepared for the interest and excitement generated by the cats she brought. In order to show, Linda had to come up with a name fore her genetically-unique felines. She came up with "LaPerm". which means wavy or rippled in several languages. And so, a new breed was born.


The fur is the characteristic which sets the LaPerm apart. Ringlet-type curls. The tightest curls occur on the underside and base of the ears, with a curly plumed tail. The curl ranges from the tight ringlets to the long, corkscrew curls. It is soft in texture, but each cat's coat is distinctly unique.

Some kittens are born hairless, but most have short, wavy hair at birth. Often the tops of their heads will be bald during the first four months or so. They can also be born with straight hair, then lose it. For the first six months, it's pretty much a guessing game.

The breed is "low maintenance", requiring mimimum grooming because the coat does not easily mat. LaPerm's curls hold the hair, much like that of a poodle, so shedding is minimal. Bath and towel drying is all that is required to maintain the curl. Blow drying tends to make the hair frizz. After the coat is totally dry, spritzing with a fine mist of plain water works well to achieve even more curl.

The coat on both the short and long-haired varieties may vary in length and fullness depending upon the maturity of the cat. Both males and females may have a full ruff on the neck at maturity.

The face and head of the LaPerm are triangular in shape with wide-set ears and large, expressive eyes. They boast a splendid set of curly whiskers.

The males tend to weigh about 7 1/2 pounds while females grow to be 5 or 6 pounds. The breed comes in both long and short coats.


Although the look of each kitten varies, one thing always remains the same: the great personality of this new breed. Even the occasional straight-haired kitten is blessed with it, which makes finding good homes for them very easy.

LaPerms are very gentle and affectionate. They seek human contact and purr as soon as they become aware of your presence. These cats are face lovers; they will reach for your face with their paws and rub their faces against your head, neck, and face. They love being kissed and will kiss back. They beg to be held, drooped over a shoulder, or cradled in your arms while resting on their backs.

They are inquisitive in nature, always wanting to know what is going on around them. Kittens have been known to stop nursing and seek out the source of the human voice before their eyes are open.

They are generally quiet-voiced but may be vocal when wanting attention. Being a working cat on the farm, they are excellent hunters,a s well as gentle companions. They adapt well to apartment living because of their strong bonding instincts.

Linda believes that LaPerms are truly different from any other breed of cat because of their unique combination of appearance and people oriented personality. The cats have captivated nearly everyone who has the opportunity to see them.


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